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Suniti is the creator of TestRocker, an online learning platform that helps you unlock your dream SAT and ACT scores. TestRocker is based on Suniti’s highly successful and proven method of teaching students how to maximize their SAT and ACT scores, a method she has perfected through tutoring thousands of students in the U.S., Asia, and the UK for more than a decade.  Her intuitive and comprehensive approach has now been adapted for the online space.

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Get ready for the May SAT in just 3 weeks!

  
  
  

Whether you've been studying for months, or just realized that your May SAT is only a few weeks away, use our 3 week study calendar to help you study smarter.

Here are the three steps to ensure you get your dream SAT score on May 3rd:

  1. If you haven't already done so, sign up for our free trial. If you enjoy learning with TestRocker then purchase our program!
  2. Use the calendar below and work through the recommended modules, video concepts, and practice quizzes.
  3. Wake up calm and relaxed on May 3rd, and rock the SAT!

Since TestRocker is completely online, you can prep for the ACT whenever you want, wherever you want. In fact after your test, continue to use TestRocker to prepare for your next ACT. Good luck!

Click here to download the calendar!

Ready to rock the test?

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ACT Trigonometry Tips

  
  
  

ACT Trigonometry Tips

In past blogs we have highlighted the major differences between the SAT and ACT. While the ACT and SAT math sections do share a lot of topics in common, the ACT also tests for the following topics, which are not covered by the SAT:  Trigonometry, Logarithms, Complex Numbers, and Matrices/Circles & Ellipse Equations.

Depending on whether you enjoy your high school math classes, this may or may not be good news. Whether you are a math genius, or require a calculator for even the most basic math equation, the tips below should help solidify some of the fundamentals of trigonometry.

Understand What Trigonometry Is

According to Merriam Webster’s, trigonometry is a “mathematical discipline dealing with the relationships between the sides and angles of triangles. Literally, it means triangle measurement, though its applications extend far beyond geometry”

Understand Common Trigonometric Terms

When you encounter a trigonometry question, you will typically see the following terms:

Hypotenuse: The longest side of a triangle

Sine: The sine of any given angle is the ratio of the length of its opposite side to the length of its hypotenuse

Cosine: The cosine of any given angle is the ratio of the length of its adjacent side to the length of the hypotenuse

Tangent: The tangent of any given angle is the ratio of the length of its opposite side to the length of its adjacent side.

Cosecant: The reciprocal of the sine of a given angle

Secant: The reciprocal of the cosine of a given angle

Cotangent: The reciprocal of the tangent of a given angle

Use acronyms to help you remember triangle relationships

SOH-CAH-TOA is a popular acronym for remembering the relationship between triangles sides and angles.

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Know Your Triangles!

In trigonometry there are certain types of triangles (with specific ratios of triangle sides) that appear frequently on the ACT. Memorizing these will allow you to quickly identify and solve the questions. When given only two sides, recognizing this ratio will allow you to accurately calculate the length of the missing side. These popular triangles have sides in the following ratios: 3-4-5 & 5-12-13

Other popular triangles are the 45-45-90 triangle and the 30-60-90 triangle. Familiarity with these triangles and angle ratios will ensure that you are able to figure out the accompanying side ratios. See the image below to understand the correlation:

45-45-90 Triangle

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30-60-90 Triangle

 30 60 90

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have more ACT Trigonometry questions? Just Ask Suniti!

 

Image sources: mathwarehouse.com, Wikimedia, unlimited gmat

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Beyond College Admissions: Why your SAT Score Matters

  
  
  

Think college admissions officers are the only ones who care about your SAT score? Think again. Colleges and universities aren’t the only ones looking to assess your math, critical reading, and writing skills. Wondering where else your SAT score might matter? Here are a few places:

Scholarships

scholarshipsDespite being an often-overlooked segment of the college admissions process, scholarships are a great way to help you (or your parents) shoulder the cost of a higher education. Scholarships are often awarded based on any number of criteria, including: academic achievement, ethnicity, PSAT score, or even professional/organizational affiliation. While some colleges only require you to write an essay and meet a minimum GPA requirement, others may require that you submit your SAT score. A few that might be worth checking out include: The Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship, National Merit Scholarship Program and National Achievement Scholarship Program (based on PSAT score), and the Siemens Merit Scholarship (based on PSAT score).

 

Pre-College Programs

As you work on getting good grades and putting together a compelling college application, it is also important to continue to explore and nurture your potential interests or passions. One way to do this is through pre-college programs. While these programs may not necessarily preclude you from participation because of your SAT score, many ask you to share it. For example: if entrepreneurship is one of your areas of interest, you might want to apply to the Launch Summer program.

College Internships

Once you get into college, your SAT score can give you a leg up in the competition for college internships. Internships are a popular way to explore full-time careers post college. While your SAT score may not be a deciding factor in securing an internship, having a great SAT score on your resume can help you differentiate yourself from all the other highly qualified applicants.

Post-Grad Employment Post-grad Employment

Even as you prepare for life post-college, your SAT score continues to be relevant. Many firms, especially in the fields of tech, consulting, and finance, ask recent college graduates to share their SAT score. This screening technique helps recruiting teams sort through the many resumes that they receive every year.

What are your thoughts? What are some other instances outside of college admissions when your SAT score might be important?

Image Sources: Flickr; EliteDaily
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Tips on How to Master the SAT Essay

  
  
  

The SAT requires you to write your essay in 25 minutes. This can seem like a daunting task, and understandably so! Even in school, you normally have more than just a few minutes to read an essay prompt, plan your essay, and write it well. Here at TestRocker, we have helped thousands of students improve their essay score. Here are a few quick tips:

SAT Essay

1. Read the essay prompt and assignment carefully

As you read through the prompt, you should quickly jot down any ideas, phrases, or thoughts that come to mind. Underline key vocabulary words and ideas you can use from the prompt – but do not plagiarize.

Once you have read through the essay prompt, take a stance or position. If you’re not sure which position to take, it might make sense to go with the position where you can think of more supports for your point of view. Taking a stance from the beginning allows you to structure your essay from that angle.

2. Plan your essay

Once you have read through both the assignment and the prompt, review your notes and then create an outline for your essay. Jot down the key ideas you hope to convey in your introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Be sure that your body paragraphs support your introduction and chosen point of view. 

3. Write your essay

Once you have your essay planned, write quickly and legibly. Make sure you remained focus on answering what is asked in the assignment. Don’t get sidetracked into writing about tangential topics.. You can choose to budget time at the end of this section to edit your essay, or edit as you go along. As you edit, keep an eye for spelling, grammar, and incorrect sentences. Avoid redundancy; your aim is to write an essay that is powerful and engaging.

Want more tips for improving your SAT writing score?  Reserve your spot today for our upcoming SAT Writing: Rapid Fire Practice Class 

US Students: http://bit.ly/1ddDH3K

International: http://bit.ly/1iE3LF3

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Planning for the SAT, SAT Subject tests, and the ACT

  
  
  

Taking the SAT or ACT is never as simple assat study planning registering for the test and showing up. There are so many other decisions at play, so it is very important to be clear about which tests you need to take (AP, SAT Subject Tests, IB, SAT, ACT etc.), how many times and when you should to take them. Here is a list of what your peers have asked us about their testing plans lately:

Q: I took the January/March SAT and am planning to take it again, but am having trouble choosing between the May and June SAT and SAT Subject tests. What do you recommend?

You should only take the SAT or ACT when you have prepared sufficiently and feel “test-ready”. Assuming that you have adequately prepared:

i. If you are studying for AP/IB curriculum exams, plan to take the SAT II Subject tests in May. Any preparation for AP/IB exams can be used to take SAT II subject tests that cover the same topic.

ii. AP/IB exam students who take their SAT IIs in May are then able to get some relief after their school exams and still continue preparing for the June SAT.

Q: I am planning to take the SAT in May, should I plan to take it again in June or wait until October?

You should only retake tests after first identifying and addressing any knowledge gaps, followed by rigorous test preparation. The October SAT is the perfect time to retake the test because you can use your summer to get prepared and see an even greater score improvement.

Q: How many times should I plan to take the SAT? What about the ACT?

Many colleges accept SAT super scores, so you should plan to take it up to 3 times and combine your best score from each section. Make sure you take the time between attempts to analyze your score report and see where you need to make improvements to boost your score. At TestRocker, we do that for you! For the ACT we advise our students not to take the test more than 2 times because, based on our experience, you won’t see a significant improvement between a 2nd and 3rd ACT attempt.

Have other SAT/ACT questions? We’d be happy to answer them click here to set up time with one of our test-prep experts.

Get Ready for the April ACT in 3 weeks!

  
  
  

Whether you've been studying for months, or just realized that your April ACT is only a few weeks away, use our 3 week study calendar to help you study smarter.

Here are the three steps to ensure you get your dream ACT score on April 12th:

  1. If you haven't already done so, sign up for our free trial. If you enjoy learning with TestRocker then purchase our program!
  2. Use the calendar below and work through the recommended modules, video concepts, and practice quizzes.
  3. Wake up calm and relaxed on April 12th, and rock the ACT!

Since TestRocker is completely online, you can prep for the ACT whenever you want, wherever you want. In fact after your test, continue to use TestRocker to prepare for your next ACT. Good luck!

Click here to download the calendar!

Ready to rock the test?

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ACT study tips

What the CollegeBoard plans to change about the SAT*

  
  
  

The CollegeBoard recently announced details of its planned changes to the SAT. To help you understand if and how these changes might affect you, we have put together a guide to the New SAT.

As more details are released, it is our priority to keep you updated and informed. Subscribe to our blog by filling out the form in the bottom-right of this page to be kept up-to-date!

SAT Timing

The new SAT will be administered for the first time in the spring of 2016. The CollegeBoard will release additional details and sample questions for the new SAT on April 16th.

Which Test Will You Need To Take?students taking the sat

Now that the new SAT has been announced, a lot of students are not sure which one they should be studying for. It all boils down to your expected year of graduation. Current freshman will be the first ones to take the new SAT.

- Class of 2014 (Grade 12) – Current SAT
- Class of 2015 (Grade 11) – Current SAT
- Class of 2016 (Grade 10) – Current SAT
- Class of 2017 and later (Grade 9 and below) – First class to take the   new SAT


New SAT Format

The new SAT will be offered in print and, at a few select locations, on computers. There will be three sections Reading/Writing, Math, and an optional Essay. The exam will be scored on a 400 to 1600 point scale. The new SAT will have no penalty for wrong answers; in other words, no points will be deducted. Students can receive up to 800 points for Reading/Writing section and up to 800 points for the Math section. The new SAT will be about 3 hours long, with an added 50 minutes for the optional essay. This essay will be scored separately.

New SAT Content 

Vocabulary – the College Board is focusing on making sure students learn vocabulary words that are more relevant, less obscure, and actually used in college courses.
Reading & Writing – similar to the ACT, students will be asked to demonstrate an ability to interpret, synthesize, and use evidence from a wide range of sources.
Essay – The essay prompt will be provided to students in advance, however students will not receive their source material until the actual test. The focus here is on having students demonstrate an ability to read closely, analyze information, and write clearly. The subjectivity of personal experience will be removed and all assertions must be evidence-based.
Math – The new SAT will introduce questions that frame math concepts in a real world context. The questions will focus on the following 3 key areas:

- Problem Solving & Data Analysis
- Ratios, Percentages, Proportional Reasoning 
- Algebra, Equations, Functions 

Let us help you navigate the new SAT and its changes. Have questions? Just “Ask Suniti” in the panel to the right!

*SAT is a registered trademark of The College Board. 

Image Source: Google Images

College Application Advice for Student Athletes

  
  
  

I want to play sports in college!  A few things to consider:Student athletes

Level of Talent:

How good are you?  No, really.  How good are you?  There are so many opportunities to play sports in college, from the intramural level all the way up to Division 1 college athletics.  The range is wide, so it’s important to know the varying levels and degrees of difference among them:

Intramural sports: Non-competitive, plentiful, and the focus is fun.  Most colleges have loads of intramural teams and the competition is against your fellow classmates. 

Club sports: There’s a wide range here.  Some university club sports are mainly for fun and for the student who also likes an intramural experience.  Some club teams are quite competitive and will require a try-out once you’re on campus and/or have very elite-level athletes who go on to the Olympics and/or Nationals (ie: University of Delaware Figure Skating Club).

Nationally sanctioned sports: The highest level of sports will come with Division 1 athletics in the NCAA.  You’ll be competing at the top of your game against the most talented and driven…but you’ll also have to accept sacrifices of missing out on social aspects of college, lots of travel and balancing schoolwork with demanding training while maintaining minimum credit levels and GPA.  Know the pros and cons.  Also make sure you know your options:

College tennisNCAA, NAIA, USCAA, NJCAA…:

Once you know your level and competition, ask yourself why you want to play sports in college: For fun? To go pro? To try to improve your chances of getting into a better college?  The answer to this will determine your next steps and help guide you to the right fit.

Research all of the different collegiate student-athlete governing boards.  Of course, the NCAA is the most well known with its three divisions of play: D1, D2 and D3.  Where do you fit in?  Where do you want to fit in?  How will you approach the process?  Start early…and keep in mind that finding your fit will be the golden ticket…

Finding Your Match:

Reality-check: How competitive are you at your sport and in the context of global and national student-athletes?  Do your research on stats and get an objective opinion and advisor. This advisor should be a third-party, someone who can effectively and honestly guide you. 

Scholarships are difficult to come by: Before even concluding that you hope for a scholarship, back up and assess yourself. From both an athletic standpoint and academic standpoint, do your stats put you at a D-1 level?  How are your grades and test scores?  Remember that the NCAA mandates very detailed and strict guidelines both for its student athletes and for its coaches. There is no getting around that.  Identify your level and then start to set up your timeline.

Manage the Process:

If you’re going for D1 or D2, you’ll need to set up a very thoughtful timeline for three things: your High School career; your recruiting strategy; your application strategy (that includes your essays, taking SAT/ACT and TOEFL if necessary, when to turn in your application, etc.).  Most important?  Owning the process as a student: you reach out, ask the questions, find your fit (of course with your parent’s input and support). You must drive this process.  This is the only way to be respected by coaches and to find your match in the process. 

Quick Tips by Grade:

9th & 10th Grades:

  1. Grades: keep these as high as possible. high school baseball
  2. Curriculum: check on your courses and future courses and look at eligibility guidelines of the conferences you hope to play for (ie: NCAA, NAIA, etc.)
  3. Work with your counselor and coach simultaneously and articulate your goals clearly to them
  4. Understand and become familiar with all eligibility requirements.  They can change annually so stay-tuned in the upcoming years.
  5. Create a sports CV and highlights portfolio.
  6. You cannot contact or be contacted by a coach until after July of your 11th Grade year (NCAA)
  7. Register for Eligibility Centers
  8. Don’t be represented by an agent
  9. Draw up a long-list of universities and programs that interest you
  10. Create a Standardized Testing Plan.
11th Grade:
  1. Work with your counselor to reassess and stay realistic: which colleges and programs are a fit for you both academically and athletically?
  2. Keep focusing on your grades
  3. Reach out to coaches, but do not call them until after 1 July after 11th Grade.  After 1 July, official visits can be granted and you can speak to coaches on and off campus.
  4. Take SAT/ACT/TOEFL/Subject Tests (if needed)
  5. Remember not all programs or coaches are the same: do your research and keep notes
  6. Send transcripts to the NCAA

12th Grade:

  1. Retake SAT/ACT/…
  2. Apply to universities—early! 
  3. Have all transcripts and test scores sent by your High School Guidance Counselor
  4. Sign only one Letter of Intent and not before the National Letter of Intent signing date
  5. Thank your coaches, counselors, parents and supporters.  A hand-written note goes a long way.

Written by Jennifer Aquino, Director at Atelier Education, a boutique educational consulting firm specializing in working with international students and families around the globe.  She can be reached at jennifer@ateliereducation.com and www.ateliereducation.com.  Jennifer is Associate Member, IECA and Member, OACAC and is based in Singapore.

The ACT Science Section: It's Not Rocket Science!

  
  
  

In previous blogs we’ve talked about key differences between the SAT and ACT. One of the biggest differences between the two tests is the presence of the ACT science section. Today we wanted to share what exactly this section tests, its structure, and share some tips for doing well.

ACT Science sectionWhat is the ACT Science Section trying to test?

The makers of the ACT crafted the science section to test your ability to understand science-based passages that introduce new information about both familiar and unfamiliar concepts. You’ll be expected to observe, absorb, and analyze information presented in passage, chart, diagram, and graph form. In your analysis of this information you should demonstrate an ability to link cause to effect, identify trends, and extrapolate beyond the information given.

What is the structure of the ACT science section?

The ACT science section is comprised of 7 science-based passages with a total of 40 questions. You will have 35 minutes to complete this. Calculators are not allowed,

3 charts and graphs passages with 5 questions each
3 experiment passages with 6 questions each
1 science debate passage with 7 questions

Tips for acing the ACT Science Sections

  1. Make sure that you understand following terms: fixed, variable, constant, and fixed conditions.
  2. Remain time-conscious; you only have 35 minutes to attempt 40 questions.
  3. When presented with a new passage, read the question first and then find the answer by scanning the relevant passage/graph/chart. Be sure to take short notes on the side as you go along.
  4. Math-based questions will be simple, so use estimation and remember to attempt each question because there’s no negative marking for incorrect answers.
  5. When you come across a word you don’t know, don’t get caught up in how to spell or pronounce it. Use the surrounding words to understand the meaning of the unknown word. You can even shorten the difficult word and substitute an easier word.

Interested in getting more tips for acing the ACT math, reading, science, and/or english section? Join our two-part ACT Intensive Classes. Register now:

Part 1: Mar 23rd, 8-10pm EST http://bit.ly/Poo9je 
Part 2: Mar 24th, 8-10pm EST http://bit.ly/Pooja4
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How to Become a Great Test Taker

  
  
  

High School is full of quizzes, exams and tests, and we know you probably aren’t the biggest fan of them. So we asked one of our partners, Study in the USA, to share some general tips to help you be prepared for all the tests that are coming up this year, including your IB/AP exams, Regents, and even your finals. ArticleImage 092 en 1 (1) resized 600

Be Prepared! Take plenty of time to prepare for each test. Use available preparation materials to familiarize yourself with the test's structure and guidelines. Instructions on taking computer and paper-based tests are generally available for each exam.

Practice, practice, practice! Use available sample questions and exercises. Examples of authentic questions and previously used topics are often available as well as sample tests. Get in as much practice as you can before taking the actual exam.

Simulate the test situation. Find out as much as you can about the test environment, and practice in a similar setting. Allow yourself only the time allocated for the actual test, and work on moving through sections as quickly and effectively as possible, identifying and focusing on areas where you need improvement.

Research. Take advantage of all the resources available to you. The more you know about a test and how it is scored, the more efficiently you can approach it. The Web is an excellent resource, and most online information is free. Make the most of the advice and materials that can help you achieve success.

Follow directions. Read all instructions thoroughly and completely before beginning any test. Make sure you understand your objectives and how to achieve them. Don't worry if you don't know an answer - concentrate on the current question, and do the best you can, but don't spend too much time on any one item. Pace yourself so you have enough time to answer every question.

Be relaxed and confident. Get plenty of rest before any exam. Remember, the more rested and better prepared you are, the more comfortable and positive you'll be during the test.

Article by Study in the USA - Study in the USA is a world leader in connecting international students with US colleges and universities via Study in the USA magazines and http://studyusa.com.

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